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Have you ever noticed that your debit card has the logo of a major credit card on it? Why is that? What does a credit card company have to do with your debit card?

When making a purchase, you may have the option to choose “credit” when you pay. Using your debit card may be a convenient alternative to paying with cash, and the credit option may also be available when you pay with merchants that accept these credit cards.

Let’s dig deeper into why your credit card might have a credit card logo on it and what that means for you.

Many debit cards have a credit network logo on them. For example, you may notice the Visa® or Mastercard® name and logo. 

While it might make sense for a credit card to have an associated credit card logo on it, why would a debit card have one, since they’re not credit cards? What do credit card companies and logos have to do with credit cards?

Credit network logos give you the option to pay with credit at retailers that accept the credit card company detailed on your debit card. Visa or MasterCard debit cards still act like regular debit cards when you’re paying for goods or services with the funds coming directly out of your bank account. The difference is that these cards use credit card networks so they can be used with merchants that otherwise wouldn’t allow payment via debit. With a credit card network, your debit card can be more versatile. 

Find out what credit score you need in order to get a credit card.

Main Credit Card Logos On Debit Cards

The two main credit card logos you’ll see on debit cards are Visa and MasterCard.

What Is A Visa Debit?  

Visa Debit works like a debit card to allow you to use funds from your bank account to make a purchase, but also allows you to make online purchases where credit card payments would traditionally be required. Visa Debit can be used with merchants all across the globe that accept Visa and is a safe way to pay online thanks to Visa Zero Liability.

Not only can you use Visa Debit to make purchases, but you can also use it to pay your taxes via the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) or to make recurring bill payments. 

What Is A Debit MasterCard?

Like Visa Debit, Debit MasterCard can be used with any merchant that accepts MasterCard across the globe. You can use your debit card to make online purchases that normally would have needed a credit card. You can also take advantage of the robust layers of security provided by MasterCard so you’re protected against any fraudulent activity. 

Check out our review of the Tangerine Visa Debit.

Regular Debit Cards Vs. Debit Cards With Credit Card Logos

How exactly do regular debit cards differ from those that feature credit card logos?

Regular Debit Cards 

Debit cards typically require you to enter your PIN in order to safely and successfully complete a purchase transaction. Your debit card also allows you to withdraw money from a bank machine. Whether you make a payment at a point-of-sale terminal or withdraw cash from an ATM, your bank account will immediately reflect the debited funds. 

Debit Cards With Credit Card Logos 

A debit card that features a credit option works a little differently than a simple debit card. For starters, you may not require a PIN in order to complete a transaction for purchases of less than $25. 

If paying in person, you can either swipe or insert your card into the payment terminal, then sign to complete your purchase. Further, your bank account will not immediately reflect the transaction, unlike a debit card. Instead, it may take a few days for the transaction to show up on your bank statement.

Learn more about the difference between secured and prepaid credit cards.

What Happens When You Choose Debit Vs. Credit?

There are a few differences between using debit versus credit to make purchases. 

When You Choose Debit: 

Faster Transactions: With a debit option, the purchase transaction is processed and settled almost instantly. That’s because the transaction information is sent via an electronic funds transfer network that depends on a transmission to authorize the purchase amount. In turn, your bank account will show the transaction right away.

Merchant Saves Money: Every time you use your credit card to pay for a purchase, the merchant must pay a fee. The amount of this fee depends on a few things, such as the payment processor, the credit card used, and the type of store. Debit card issuers with less than $10 billion in assets are excluded from limits on interchange fees set forth by the Federal Reserve. While the merchant will still have fees to pay, they won’t be as high as they would be if they were not exempt from such interchange fee limits. 

When You Choose Credit:

More Benefits: When choosing credit, you may be awarded certain perks that come with credit card networks, including liability protections against fraudulent activity with your account or errors on the part of the merchant. Such protection can come in handy if you’re ever looking to get reimbursed for charges that you didn’t authorize. Credit also often comes with rewards programs, such as points for every dollar spent. While some debit cards may have rewards programs, they’re not common. Generally speaking, rewards are only given when signing to make debit card purchases.

Slower Transactions: Unlike debit transactions that are reflected on your bank account immediately, using your debit card with a signature (aka using credit) usually means the transaction will take longer. That’s because the information is routed through the credit card networks, which can take a few days before the transaction is authorized.

Learn more about debit card fraud.

Does Visa Debit Or Debit Mastercard Help Build Credit?

When it comes to building or repairing your credit score, it doesn’t matter whether you use Visa Debit or Debit MasterCard. Neither one will help you build up solid credit. While there are some differences between transactions that require a PIN versus a signature, the card still works like a debit card even if you select credit on your debit card.

There is no revolving credit involved, unlike a traditional credit card. At the end of the day, the money you’re spending on the card is still coming out of your bank account. You’re not paying with credit. 

Plus, your debit card account activity will not get reported to the credit bureaus. As such, these transactions won’t be noted on your credit report and therefore will not impact your credit score.

Debit Cards With Credit Card Logos FAQs

Are debit cards accepted everywhere?

A debit card can be used anywhere that credit cards are accepted. For instance, if your debit card has a Visa logo, it can be used anywhere that accepts Visa. Visa Debit and Debit Mastercard are accepted at just about every merchant that accepts credit cards.

Do I have to pay fees to make purchases with my debit card?

Some financial institutions charge a fee when a purchase is made using a debit card. Be sure to inquire with your bank to find out if fees apply when using your debit card to pay for purchases.

How do debit cards work?

Debit cards are linked directly to your checking account. When you pay using your debit card, the funds are immediately withdrawn from your account to cover the cost of your purchase.

Why do some people use debit cards over credit cards?

There are a few reasons why some people may choose to use a debit card instead of a credit card. For instance, they may want to control their spending and avoid getting into credit card debt. They may also want to avoid paying interest if a balance is carried from month to month. Plus, some people may not be able to qualify for a credit card.

Final Thoughts

Your debit card might give you more than just the option to pay with debit. If it has a credit card logo on it, you may also have the choice to use the credit option. While you can’t technically make purchases on credit and are not able to build your credit score using this payment option, you might still benefit from certain perks, including liability protection that you might not get with debit purchases.

Lisa Rennie avatar on Loans Canada
Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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